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In the Legislative Assembly


Crucial Fact

Historical Information Julie Green is no longer a member of the Legislative Assembly.

Last in the Legislative Assembly October 2023, as MLA for Yellowknife Centre

Won her last election, in 2019, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Question 1556-19(2): Auditor General's Report on Child and Family Services June 1st, 2023

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, it is time to revise the Child and Family Services Act to bring it into alignment with Bill 92, the federal act respecting First Nations, Inuit, and Metis children and families, youth and families. This will align things that are already being done in terms of cultural safety. And so while the legislation has not come up for review in this session, the changes have been made in standards. And it's worth noting as well that we have a limited number of staff to do this policy and legislation work and the staff who would normally be involved in revising the Child and Family Services Act, have negotiated an agreement with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation to devolve services for voluntary services agreement for children to the IRC, and more details of that will be coming at the end of the summer. Thank you.

Question 1556-19(2): Auditor General's Report on Child and Family Services June 1st, 2023

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on May 30th this year there were 133 children in temporary or permanent care and custody of the director of child and family services compared to 169 youth in the temporary or permanent care or custody of the director of child and family services on September 1st, 2018. So that's 36 fewer children.

This is really been the result of a change in approach by the Department of Health and Social Services. We have provided family preservation workers to assist families with keeping children in their homes and providing services to them in their homes and communities, and that has made all the difference in terms of cultural continuity and cultural safety for these families.

We've made a big investment since 2018, a total of $9.5 million to add 59 new positions. So in total, there are 169 people working in the child and family services system to care for the most vulnerable people in our population which is, of course, children. Thank you.

Question 1556-19(2): Auditor General's Report on Child and Family Services June 1st, 2023

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. As of May 30th this year, there are 133 children and youth in temporary or permanent custody. That compares to 169 children and youth in temporary or permanent custody on September 1st, 2018. Thank you.

Question 1556-19(2): Auditor General's Report on Child and Family Services June 1st, 2023

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you to the Member for the question. We responded to the standing committee's report on October 13th last year. And just to recap briefly, we thanked the committee for their research, recommendations, and engagement. We think that they are positive and will contribute to the well-being of children and youth in our territory. We responded to each recommendation separately. In some cases we were able to act on them in our next quality improvement plan, which will be tabled in the August 2023 session. Other recommendations require funding and so they would go into the business planning process.

And it's worth noting as well, Mr. Speaker, that the department has been reporting and will continue to report annually on the progress of each of the committee's recommendations on system improvement. Thank you.

Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery June 1st, 2023

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I see Ed Hoff in the gallery today. He is a neighbour, a retired engineer, and a solid community volunteer, and I'd like to welcome him to the House. Thank you.

Minister's Statement 370-19(2): Celebrating Seniors Month June 1st, 2023

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. June is Seniors Month, a time for us to recognize the important role of seniors in our families, communities, and the territory. They connect us with language, land, and culture, and bridge the past with the future.

Under the mandate of the Government of the Northwest Territories 2019-2023, we are supporting this role by enabling seniors to age in place with dignity. We want to help seniors to remain at home for as long as they are able. In order to be successful, we must address the core issues. We collaborated across government and engaged seniors, their families and caregivers, municipal and Indigenous governments, and community organizations, to determine how we can improve programs, services, and initiatives to better meet the needs of seniors. The feedback we received helped the department to develop the Seniors Strategic Framework that will shape future efforts across government. The framework will be tabled this August.

Mr. Speaker, throughout the engagement process, we heard from seniors about their desire to be valued and included in meaningful ways in their communities. Today marks Intergenerational Day. Here is an opportunity to pause, reflect, and reach out across generations, fostering understanding, respect, and meaningful relationships.

Seniors want to connect with children, youth and adults alike, and share stories, culture, traditions, and wisdom drawn from a lifetime of experiences. Having strong intergenerational bonds not only contributes to wellness but also fosters a deep sense of belonging in communities. We need to recognize that many seniors experience isolation and loneliness which poses serious risks to their physical and mental well-being as well as makes them vulnerable to elder abuse. I encourage everyone to reach out and spend time with the seniors in their lives and communities today and every day.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to acknowledge that World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is coming up on June 15th. The United Nations established this day to create awareness and encourage dialogue about all types of abuse and neglect seniors face. Governments, communities, and families must all play pivotal roles in safeguarding the well-being and safety of seniors. The Government of the Northwest Territories is reinforcing this point by providing a poster and fact sheet about the different types of abuse seniors face. These resources are available on the Department of Health and Social Services website and will be distributed to communities this summer.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I urge all residents to join me in celebrating the role that seniors play in our lives and to recognize their important contributions to create healthy and vibrant families and communities across the NWT. They have laid the groundwork for everything we plan to further improve and accomplish, a foundation that is critical to the future of the territory Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 1549-19(2): Preventative Dental Services May 31st, 2023

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you for the question. I think the first thing that we need to do is meet the benchmark of two visits to each school each year. That would be a great start. We have had real trouble recruiting both dentists and dental hygienists in the Northwest Territories. And we have, of course, not given up on doing that but when we put out the requests for proposal in March, we got zero results. And the result is of that is that we are severely underserved by dental health specialists, and that's across the board. And I know that people can go to their health centre and ask to have service in a location where a dentist is and have their medical travel paid there. That's not a great solution, but it is one potential solution. It's not helped by the fact that in Inuvik, the dental clinic seems to be staffed intermittently and by locums. It's difficult to have a continuity of service there.

So I recognize that this has had an impact on preventative care, and it's a problem. If the Member has any ideas about how we can do more to recruit dentists and fill those contracts with -- pardon me, recruit dental hygienists to do the school work, even on a locum basis, and how to attract dentists to doing this work, I'm certainly very interested to hear it. And I'll look up the website on the history of dental therapy.

I don't really understand why this profession has fallen by the wayside and has been taken over by dental hygienists. I think there's some scope of practice issues there. I did hear however, last week, that the University of Saskatchewan was considering relaunching their dental therapy school which might, in the end, be of benefit to us. Thank you.

Question 1549-19(2): Preventative Dental Services May 31st, 2023

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I think that what the Member is talking about is the contracting that GNWT does on behalf of Indigenous Services Canada for NIHB. And so we let those contracts and they are primarily for travel costs - they are for travel costs. The dentist needs to get approval from NIHB for the services provided. And in terms of the services that they do provide, as the Member knows there is a pre-approval process, and the dentists make their own determination of what service is most required by the patient. That's not something that we have oversight over. Although I will say we license dentists and we also supervise the complaint process. But in terms of what the dentist decides to do with the patient in the chair, that's on the dentist. Thank you.

Question 1549-19(2): Preventative Dental Services May 31st, 2023

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you to the Member for that additional information. I don't know if any of these therapists are ones who were trained in Fort Smith. I would hope that they would have retired by now but, you know, you never know. So, we have staff assigned to go to communities that don't have therapists or hygienists twice a school year. That's the benchmark of service. Sometimes, I will say upfront, we don't meet that because of staffing and travel-related issues and school cancellations. But that's what our benchmark is.

Last year the Beaufort Delta and Sahtu regions did not have the correct number of visits, unfortunately. But on the other side, three communities were added that had not been previously seen by the GNWT, and those communities are Lutselk'e, N'dilo, and Dettah. Thank you.

Question 1549-19(2): Preventative Dental Services May 31st, 2023

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I appreciate the Member giving me notice on this so I could get that specific information. There are three dental therapists located in Fort Simpson, Fort McPherson, and Inuvik. There is a dental hygienist located in Fort Smith. There is a territorial specialist who is a licensed dental hygienist who provides frontline service to communities and is located in Yellowknife. And we also have dental hygienists who work on casual rotations to fill vacancies. Thank you.